More than a week before Uttarakhand goes to polls on 15 February, the rebels have given no respite for the crisis management teams of both the camps — Congress and BJP — in various assembly constituencies of the state. If BJP is reportedly upset with the presence of its rebels in more than 12 assembly constituency, Congress' big source of headache is the refusal of its rebels withdrawing from the contest in at least nine assembly constituencies.
What reflects poor handling of the situation after distribution of tickets on part of Congress and BJP is the presence of rebels from both the parties in the two constituencies — Sahaspur and Ranikhet — from where Congress’ state president Kishore Upadhyay and his counterpart in the BJP (BJP’ state president) Ajay Bhatt are contesting respectively.
While Upadhyay faces his party’s old hand Aryendra Sharma as an independent candidate in Sahaspur constituency, BJP’s rebel candidate Pramod Nainwal’s presence in the fray in Ranikhet has troubled the party’s state president Bhatt.
Congress president Upadhyay is contesting from Sahaspur for the first time. In 2012, Aryendra was Congress party’s nominee for the same seat. After being denied ticket from his party, Aryendra decided to join the fray as an independent candidate.
No different is the situation for BJP’s state president Bhatt who had won from Ranikhet seat in the 2012 assembly polls by a margin of few votes. Congress has fielded Karan Singh Mahra against him from the same seat. So, the presence of Nainawal as a rebel against Bhatt may damage the BJP’s prospect in this constituency.
With the end of the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers, Congress and BJP have also lost their hopes to deal with the rebels who continue to fight the election as independent candidates in a good number of constituencies. Now, the parties have adopted tough stand to handle the situation.
While the Congress has expelled more than 25 leaders from the party for six years, BJP is also on a suspension spree. So far, 17 BJP leaders, including three former MLAs, have been expelled from the party.
BJP released its first list of candidates on 16 January and it led to resentment among contenders for the party tickets.
BJP’s crisis management team swung into action and made its all possible efforts to pacify such leaders who were denied ticket. The party succeeded in dealing deal with its rebels in various constituencies, including Yamkeshwar and Jaspur. The party denied ticket to its sitting MLA from Yamkeshwar Vijaya Barathwal and fielded Ritu Khanduri as its official nominee who is the daughter of former CM B C Khaduri. Vijaya is now with the party leadership. Similarly, Vinay Rohella was also persuaded to withdraw his nomination paper from Jaspur where BJP’s official nominee is Shailendra Mohan Singhal.
But the BJP has failed to persuade its rebels to withdraw from the race in several other constituencies. In Kashipur, BJP candidate Harbhajan Singh is facing the challenge from his party rebel and independent candidate Rajiv Agrawal. Similarly, Om Gopal Rawat, who was in the race for the BJP ticket, is fighting as an independent candidate against the party's official nominee Subodh Uniyal in Narendra Nagar.
BJP candidate Shaila Rani Rawat’s prospect is threatened by the presence of a rebel and independent candidate Asha Nautiyal in Kedarnath assembly seat. In Gangotri, rebel and independent candidate Surat Nautiyal has been giving trouble to BJP candidate Gopal Rawat. In Didihat, Kishan Bhandari has revolted to contest the election against BJP candidate Bishan Singh Chufal. The problem before BJP’s prominent face Satpal Maharaj, who is his party nominee from Chaubattakhal seat, is rebel Kavindra Ishtwal. Deoprayag seat also witnesses the presence of a rebel Diwakar Bhatt against BJP nominee Vindo Kandari.
Congress is facing similar problem within its organisation due to its failure to pacify rebels. Its rebels Shoorveer Singh Sajwan (Devprayag), Renu Bisht (Yamkeshwar), Pradeep Thapaliyal (Rudraprayag), Brij Rani (Jawalapur), Harendra Singh Vohra (Lalkuan), Ram Singh Keda (Bhimtal) and K L Arya (Nainital) continue to trouble the Congress camp. However, Congress has persuaded its rebels to withdraw from the contest in Kichcha, Kapkot, Dehradun Cantt and Bageshwar.
As a part of its damage-control-exercise, the Congress party has selected its leaders, who were unhappy with the ticket distribution, as observers in different assembly seats.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Feb 11, 2017 17:30:55 IST